This is a book review.
Many years ago, I was studying the ‘History of Political Thought’ from Plato to Wallas and as part of the course I had to read the original works of all of the writers covered by Mr. Levin, as well as many others. With the exception of Karl Marx, I found them all hard work. Even Das Kapital’s economic theories were hard going. If only I had had Mr. Levin’s latest book to hand, I would have been spared much challenging reading. For those website visitors unaware of Mr. Levin’s books and Talk Radio program, let me say that he has emerged in the last few years as a conservative commentator on a par with Rush Limbaugh. His knowledge of and devotion to the American Constitution is surely unparalleled, and in this book he examines the work of those political writers who greatly influenced the writing of the American Constitution. Some influenced it negatively and some positively. Mr. Levin skillfully shows how Plato, Thomas More, Thomas Hobbes and Karl Marx, in their blueprints for a ‘perfect society’, set human nature aside and in their respective ways yearned for a Utopia that was of necessity totalitarian. As Levin makes clear, the Socialist Utopia of all Leftists ignores many of the most valuable human aspirations, including economic ambition, family values and especially individual freedom of both speech and industry. Plato, More, Hobbes and Marx essentially saw human beings as ants, deprived of all individuality in pursuit of a ‘common good’. The early American settlers from Britain and Holland were initially fleeing religious (Catholic and Anglican) persecution, but once they had established a free market society in the colonies, they quickly resented the overbearing British King and Parliament who wanted to control their economic activity and levy taxes. Once they broke away from British rule, they were challenged to produce a Government and Constitution that would protect both religious freedom and the free market. Since they were in a tough and largely empty land, they were able to start from scratch, free from the caste and class systems of older societies. They were greatly motivated to avoid all the tyranny of the European Governments they had observed or experienced.
Levin shows how they were initially influenced by the writings of the Englishman, John Locke. It was Locke who conducted his exploration of human societies and the nature of Man by beginning with how people are rather than how they should be. This was a radical starting point and in direct conflict with Utopian writers. The Founding Fathers were subsequently influenced by the writings of the Frenchmen Montesquieu and de Tocqueville, who saw the emerging American search for a balance between Government and the individual, with the emphasis on the individual, as a new chapter in human history. The American Constitution which emerged as a compromise was written to greatly restrict the powers of a central government, hand much power to the individual states, and separate and provide checks and balances between the Executive, the Legislatures and the Judiciary. Above all it was intended to ensure that Government could not override the many rights of the individual citizen. Levin concludes by describing the steady erosion of the Constitution by those politicians and judges who have sworn to uphold it, but he also points out that many modern citizens do not want the freedom that the original colonists valued so highly. Utopianism continues to be a powerful idea, especially when manipulated by the Left, on its march to both totalitarianism and the creation of a new privileged and Ruling Class. Levin shows how the Leftist President Woodrow Wilson was entirely hostile to the Constitution and worked to set it aside for he believed that it stood in the way of ‘progress’ by restricting Government activity. Roosevelt, another Leftist continued the marginalization of the Constitution, aided by the Judiciary. Today, those who wish to ignore it altogether are in the ascendancy and another term of Obama in the White House will ensure that the Supreme Court is dominated by enemies of it. On this website we believe that Mr. Levin has failed to recognize the rise of a new Ruling Class in America, its alliances and its revolutionary agenda that is centered on a new morality. However he does stirling work each day exposing Obama and defending the Constitution and this book, hard work for all but dedicated conservatives, is a great contribution. It will not find a place on any college curriculum!